The Samsung CLP-680ND has a good feature set and typical speed for a small-office color laser printer. Its overall output quality is a touch above average, thanks to good graphics quality.
The CLP-680ND is boxy with rounded corners, off-white with a brown top, measuring 12.3 by 16.5 by 17.8 inches (HWD) and weighing 44 pounds. The top panel includes a four-way controller, several function buttons (Start, Cancel, and Eco among them), an alphanumeric keypad (which can be used to enter PIN numbers for secure, password-protected printing), and a two-line display. In front is a slot that fits a USB thumb drive for direct printing.
The CLP-680ND comes with a standard 300-sheet paper capacity, split between a 250-sheet main paper tray and a 50-sheet multipurpose tray, and it has an automatic duplexer. The printer can accommodate an additional, optional 520-sheet tray for a maximum total capacity of 820 sheets. It has a monthly duty cycle of 60,000 pages, which should be fine for most small offices.
The CLP-680ND offers USB and Ethernet (including Gigabit Ethernet) connectivity; I tested it on an Ethernet network with drivers installed on a PC running Windows Vista. A host-based driver installs by default; you can also install PostScript and XPS drivers by checking the appropriate boxes during the setup.
Print Speed and Output Quality
I timed the Samsung CLP-680ND on the latest version of our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing) at an effective 6.2 pages per minute (ppm). That’s typical for its rated speed of 25 ppm for both color and monochrome, which would be approximately what you should get if you were to print text only. (Our test suite combines text pages, graphics pages, and pages with mixed content.)
That said, I noticed that several times the printer went into a calibration mode that could last a minute or so. It didn’t affect our timings, as it happened after a test had been completed, in a preset idle time between tests, but it has the potential to slow down printing times a bit if you’re running one job after another.
The Editors’ Choice Samsung CLP-415NW, rated at 19 ppm for both color and monochrome printing, tested at 6.0 ppm. We timed the Editors’ Choice Dell 2150cdn, rated at 24 pages per minute, at 5.5 ppm. The HP LaserJet Pro 400 Color Printer M451dw, rated at 21 ppm for both color and monochrome printing, limped in at 3.2 ppm.
Overall output quality was slightly above par for a color laser, with text of average quality, above-par graphics, and photo quality slightly below average. Text was good enough for most any business need except for ones requiring especially small fonts, like demanding desktop publishing applications.
Graphics were suitable for PowerPoint handouts, and even basic marketing materials. In one illustration, thin colored lines were barely visible.
A monochrome photo had an obvious tint. I noticed some loss of detail in both bright and dark areas. Photo quality is good enough for printing out recognizable images from Web pages, and perhaps for company newsletters, depending on how picky you are.
The CLP-680ND tested at essentially the same speed as the Samsung CLP-415NW. The CLP-680ND’s output quality wasn’t quite as good, lagging in particular on photos. The CLP-415NW sells at a lower price, has a slightly lower paper capacity (250 sheets standard), and lacks an auto duplexer, though it does add WiFi connectivity to the mix.
The Samsung CLP-680ND was a tad faster than the Dell 2150cdn, though not enough for it to be statistically significant. It was output quality that made the Dell 2150cdn stand out, and it did better than the CLP-680ND, in text and especially in photos.
The HP M451dw was slow, taking nearly twice as long to print out our business applications suite as the CLP-680ND. The HP’s forte is high-quality output, good enough across the board for marketing materials.
The Samsung CLP-680ND has average speed and good paper capacity for a small-office color laser printer. Although its output quality is slightly above par, it’s not quite up to that of the other printers mentioned here, particularly for photos. If photo quality isn’t an issue—which is the case for many businesses, even those who need color printing—the CLP-680 is a more than respectable choice.
|Direct Printing from Cameras||No|
|Maximum Standard Paper Size||Legal|
|Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono)||25 ppm|
|Rated Speed at Default Settings (Color)||25 ppm|
|Color or Monochrome||1-pass color|
|Technology (for laser category only)||Laser|
|Connection Type||USB, Ethernet|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc